US President Donald Trump says a military option against Venezuela is on the table, describing the situation there as a “dangerous mess.”
“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary,” Trump told reporters at his golf resort in New Jersey.
Trump said he’s “not going to rule out” a military option and added it’s “certainly something that we could pursue.” He said the people in Venezuela are “suffering and they are dying.”
“We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away,” he said.
The Pentagon said the U.S. military was ready to support efforts to protect US citizens and America’s national interests abroad. Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said it is the job of the Defense Department to conduct contingency planning for possible military actions all around the world and to offer those options to the president.
However, a senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Reuters news agency the Pentagon is unaware of any coming military action in Venezuela.
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said Congress was unlikely to support such a move.
“Congress obviously isn’t authorizing war in Venezuela,” he said in a statement. “Nicolas Maduro is a horrible human being, but Congress doesn’t vote to spill Nebraskans’ blood based on who the Executive lashes out at today.”
Late Friday, Venezuela Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino told state television the U.S. president’s comments were “an act of craziness.”
Venezuela’s foreign ministry is expected to issue a statement Saturday responding to Trump’s comment that “a possible military option” was under consideration for the crisis-racked nation, according to Reuters.
Trump said the crisis in Venezuela was one of the topics discussed during talks Friday in New Jersey with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Trump also said his “fire and fury” warning to North Korea may not have been “tough enough,” shrugging off domestic critics who accused him of reckless rhetoric.
Speaking to reporters at his Bedminster, New Jersey resort, the president said North Korea should “get their act together” or it will “be in trouble like few nations have ever been,” according to AP.
North Korea should be “very, very nervous” if it does anything to the US, Trump told reporters, according to Reuters, adding that he thinks China can and will do a lot more to resolve the crisis.
“We’ll always consider negotiations,” the president added.
“I have great respect for what China and Russia did” in the Security Council, with a 15-0 vote for sanctions.” He cautioned, however, that the sanctions may not be as effective as many expect.
“The people of our country are safe, our allies are safe,” he concluded.
Following the meeting with his security advisers on Thursday afternoon, Trump said the US was “preparing for many different alternatives” about North Korea.
“He’s disrespected our country greatly,” Trump said of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. “He’s not getting away with it.”
“Let’s see what he does with Guam,” Trump said. “That’s not a dare. That is a statement of fact.”
On Tuesday, Trump had warned North Korea that it would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang continues threatening the US and its ally South Korea.